Rot Fai Market means Train Market because it is situated near the train tracks behind the famous and massive Chatuchak Market. Consider it like a museum where you get to take food and drinks inside.
Do you love vintage memorabilia? How about the cool rocket age glitz from the 50's Americana? That coupled with some terrific food and drinks spread out over several thousand square feet of fashion and artsy collectibles. This is quintessential Rot Fai night market in Bangkok, Thailand. I came upon it looking for what I always look for when I travel: cars. But stick around, there's more.
How to get there? Simple. You ask a taxi driver to take you there. Or ask them to drop you off behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall. Most Bangkok taxi drivers will take you straight to the place without any detours. They are generally quite decent that way. You can even chart the route on your phone and track where you're headed.
What to take: Camera with lots of battery charge left. And a clean towel to wipe away your drool if you are in love with old cars and bikes.
It is chopped up into three massive sections featuring collectibles, clothing and vintage goodies that will make your eyes water.
Head to the Warehouse Zone. Don't ask people, just wander. It features vintage memorabilia, a lot of it American. Shoes, jackets, authentic as well as reproduction signs and automobiles. You can find old gadgets, cameras, record players and baskets full of vinyl. While called a warehouse, it is more like a museum. Every shop features unique décor. You may or may not have stepped through a time machine. Cars are displayed as if in a 60's garage. Bikes are stacked on several mezzanine floors allowing you to tilt your head back, and get a neck cramp from viewing the awesomeness.
My six-year-old son and I were darting back and forth checking out the cars. OMG there were cool cars and bikes. We even forgot the wife was with us, who thankfully also has a thing for old cars. You're allowed to check out everything like in a museum and take pictures to your heart’s content. The sellers are friendly and will let you browse without being pushy. This is a place you come to unwind. Be gloriously lazy while indulging your decadent inner child. I realised I have an inner and outer child. I lost the grownup parts.
Then there are the 2000 or so stalls selling all kinds of clothing, music, art, and toys for big and little kids. I couldn't stop negotiating deals for vintage, used Lego sets. Wouldn't quite recommend buying toys from there without knowing the prices of new kits. It is because some sellers will hit on a silly price the moment they spot you to be a foreigner. But go wild buying glorious posters at less than 100 taka a pop.
When you're tired enough there are small bars and food stalls offering every kind of delicious sizzling meat. Prices are typical of Thai food: inexpensive unlike the cool original memorabilia. Remember, the place is hot and humid regardless of when you go. December might offer just a little bit of cool but it will barely be cold ever. Open Thursdays to Sundays from 5 to a little past midnight.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.